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Jean Pierre Lefebvre
J. Léo Gagnon,
Raimunda, her daughter Paula and her sister Sole travel from Madrid to the windy and superstitious village of Alcanfor de las Infantas to visit the grave of their mother Irene, who died years ago in a fire with her husband. Then they visit Irene's sister Paula, an old senile aunt that raised Raimunda after the death of her parents that insists to tell them that Irene is alive and living with her; later, they go to the house of her neighbor and friend Agustina, who gives a support to Paula. They return to Madrid, and after a hard day of work, Raimunda meets her daughter completely distraught at the bus stop waiting for her. When they arrive home, Paula tells her mother that she killed her unemployed father Paco, who was completely drunk and tried to rape her. While Raimunda hides his body, Sole calls her to tell that their beloved aunt Paula has died. The next morning, Sole travels alone to the funeral, and when she returns to Madrid, she finds her mother hidden in the trunk of her car... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(at around 1h 30 mins) When Agustina is talking on the TV show about her mother's vanishing, she says that it happened "hace ya casi cuatro años" ("nearly four years ago"), yet her lips are clearly saying "hace ya casi tres años" ("nearly three years ago"). See more »
Don't say that, Raimunda, or I'll start crying. And ghosts don't cry.
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EPIC COMEDY If we get to forget the delirious and delicious comedy side of the film, we find an epic story of what the second half of the past century was for so many women in Spain. Moving from the town to the city(from La Mancha to Madrid, from great patio houses full of architectural wisdom to terrific social housing apartments in the suburbs of the city), fighting against the elements(fire that burns down like love, wind that drives you crazy, water that used to fill our rivers and now is gone), having bad luck with men as the only possible fate, exercising companionship, imagination, tenderness and shrewdness as their only weapons for surviving. Keeping dignity untouched inside them.
ACTRESSES Pedro Almodovar in this film is like a top ten chef reinventing the most popular dishes of his own culture! The movie is a tasting menu of the greatest playing actresses with the best possible direction. The wild instinct of Penelope to construct a suburban animal, with strong links to Italian mommas, the touching interpretation of Blanca Portillo, simply mind blowing, the master lesson from Chus Lampreave that fills the theater with rivers of affection, the young actress Yohana Cobo that achieves success in some of the most difficult takes in the film, and Lola Dueñas that gets the plainest part and gives it a huge dimension with high level performance for comedy. And Carmen Maura, that stars the story like a Japanese terror movie star, she is like the Obi-Wan Kenobi of La Mancha.
DENSITY AND GRATITUDE So we have an epic story, great actresses, and a refined comedy that fills the spectator with gratitude, at least that is my case. I just have no defense in front of a film like this, that tells me a great story, makes me laugh, and has the highest detail density in objects colors, comments, views, gestures, references, movements and subplots. That is probably the only trouble with it, more than one view is necessary to catch it all, if possible!
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